Architecture Center offers spring break programming

(Published April 4, 2019)

The Chicago Architecture Center is offering a slew of activities for kids over spring break, April 15 — 19.

The STEM programming offers educational activities for kids 5-16 and some projects involve make-and-take activities. Everything is free with CAC admission, $12 for adults and $8 for students. Kids must come with an adult, though older teens may come alone. The camps are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Chicago Architecture Center is located at 111 East Wacker Drive, steps from Michigan Avenue.

Easter fever: The best local egg hunts

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, staff writer

Many parents in downtown Chicago don’t have lawns for children to hunt eggs—but the city provides a plethora of alternatives, some including grandiose spectacles, for both kids and parents.

New Eastside’s Maggie Daley Park hosts the Great Chicago Egg Hunt on April 19, which, as the name implies, is not small affair.

Besides the Easter Bunny, the egg hunt includes various performances from event sponsor Medieval Times’ knights and princesses. The event is open to any child from 1 to 11 years old. though parents need to register kids. A spot is $10 per person online or $15 per person the day of the hunt. Parents can register on the park district’s site, maggiedaleypark.com.

Parents should register sooner rather than later because it is popular. “We had 5,000 people last year,” park supervisor Jackie Guthrie said. “It’s a pretty big egg hunt.”

She explained the hunt is actually several hunts, handled in waves, and a Medieval Times’ trumpeter will sound off each hunt.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and registration begins at 9 a.m.

A Rainforest adventure

Across the river near Streeterville, kids and parents can get a hop on Easter  breakfast with the Easter Bunny April 13 and April 14 at Rainforest Café, 605 N. Clark St. The Cha! Cha!’s Egg-Cellent Easter Adventure breakfast includes a breakfast buffet, an egg hunt and basket and goodie bags for the kids. Children 3 and under are free, 10 and under are $14.34 and tickets for everyone else are $24.75. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.

Lake Shore Park Easter egg hunt

Streeterville families can take part in the Maggie Daley Park egg hunt and then, the next day, April 20, families can go over to Lake Shore Park, 808 N. Lake Shore Drive, for the Streeterville’s Easter egg hunts for kids 12 and under. Bags will be provided for the eggs. The event is free and open to the community from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Besides the hunt, there will be snacks, face painting, crafts and there will also be storytime reading by Blue Box Libraries and parents are asked to bring a book to donate. The event is free to the public and parents can register at easterinchicago.com.

The event is sponsored by Lake Shore and Seneca Park advisory councils and Church of the Beloved.

Hospitality goes to the dogs with DineAmic’s pet-centered brunch


(Published April 1, 2019)

Abhinanda Datta, Staff Writer

The brunch scene heats up in spring and Chicago’s DineAmic has created a dog-friendly menu that will allow your pet to chew on some delectable treats while sitting next to you, so you don’t have to leave your beloved pet at home.

According to Cara Zizzo, DineAmic senior PR manager, the inspiration behind the idea stemmed from the company’s general canine-friendly policies.

“We allow corporate employees to bring their dogs to work with them every day. In the past, DineAmic’s restaurant patios allowed dogs on their patios with each dog receiving a treat and bowl of ice water. But last year, we wanted to take a step further,” she said.

Launched last summer, the Puppy Menu includes entrees such as chicken breast, a burger patty and skirt steak, as well as dessert. All entrees are grilled with extra virgin olive oil with no added seasoning. The Woof-Cream dessert has dairy-free whipped cream and is served on an eco-friendly disposable plate.

Since the DineAmic chefs have dogs, making food that would cater to a canine’s tastes was not a huge task.

“We have seen a huge response from dog owners consisting of all sizes to try out the menu. There have been Huskies, French bulldogs, bulldogs, pugs and even dobermans who enjoyed the entrees and dessert specifically catered to the four-legged animal,” Zizzo said.

“The response has been positive from both sides, canines seem to scarf down the meal and their owners love the option.”

Although there have not been any brawls between the dogs, Zizzo has witnessed unbridled excitement.

“A Siberian husky named Wolfgang was so excited to get the food that he finished his meal before the plate was set on the table,” she said.

Bring along Fido as an additional guest to one of the following locations:

· Siena Tavern (51 West Kinzie St./River North neighborhood)

· Bar Siena (832 West Randolph St./West Loop neighborhood)

· Barrio (65 West Kinzie St./River North neighborhood)

· Public House (400 North State St./River North neighborhood)

Escaping the screaming screens

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Spring is jam-packed with sports viewing events. With college basketball, baseball and NBA games, it can be difficult to escape the hum and roar of sports, even at local restaurants. If patrons desire a quiet meal without cheers and jeers, it can be challenging to find restaurants without several televisions broadcasting. For those looking for screenless dining experiences with family and friends, there are several local options, for any kind of patron.

Free Rein

224 N Michigan Ave.

freereinrestaurant.com

Located in the St. Jane Hotel, Free Rein is a “contemporary American Brasserie” without screens. It’s a quiet escape with a Michigan Ave. hustle and bustle backdrop. Free Rein offers breakfast and all-day dining from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. most nights, 9 p.m. on Sundays. They also offer brunch on weekends until 2 p.m. The menu includes items such as duck breast, striploin and oysters. For a more casual experience, their attached café opens daily at 7 a.m., serving coffee, pastries, and other fare.

Marisol

205 E Pearson St.

marisolchicago.com

The Museum of Contemporary Art is home to screenless Marisol, featuring dishes from Chicago chef Jason Hammel. Marisol serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday. They also have a bar, with happy hour options Tuesday-Friday, and counter service. Dinner options include wagyu tartare, linguine with clams and half chicken.

Nando’s

117 E Lake St.

227 E Ontario St.

nandosperiperi.com/eat/restaurants/michigan-avenue

For the more casual diner looking to escape the TV, Nando’s is located at Michigan and Lake Street. with the entrance on Lake. The location in Streeterville is 227 E. Ontario. Family friendly Nando’s serves their specialty chicken and other dishes with a fusion of Portuguese and Southern African flavors. Kid’s menu available. Nando’s is open every day 11 a.m.-11 p.m. They also offer beer and wine.

Other local screenless restaurants:

Brown Bag Seafood

340 E. Randolph

brownbagseafood.com

Francesca’s On Chestnut

200 E. Chestnut

miafrancesca.com/?/locations/profile/francescas-on-chestnut-gold-coast

Les Nomades

222 E. Ontatio

Lesnomades.net

Maggie Daley Park adds slime and archery programs

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

In March, area residents got their first chance to sign up for spring programs for 2019 at Maggie Daley Park.

Park supervisor Jackie Guthrie said residents will see the same standard programs from summers past along with a few new programs to check out.

One new program targets kids with special needs.

“It’s a new program citywide that the special recreation program is offering,” Guthrie said. “We want to provide different programming to make sure we’re hitting different audiences, and we want to make sure we’re offering programs for kids with and without disabilities.”

The park is also changing with the times. Slime is a big hit among kids these days, so Guthrie said there’s a program for that, too.

“Kids love slime so we’re going to do a class all about slime,” she explained. There will now be an adults-only archery program offered on Saturday. In only a week of sign ups, Guthrie said that program, aimed at beginners, is getting a bit of interest.

“I think for a lot of people it’s just sparking their interest,” she said. “It’s people who wanted to learn a new skill and they want to take a new class to see if they like it. That starts in April.”

A four-week session  is $20 and the park provides all the archery equipment. The park is also offering a slew of afterschool sports for youths. Sports such as track and field, tennis and soccer begin at 4:30, Guthrie said. Meanwhile, pickleball, a popular local sport for adults, will add sessions.

“Last year our pickleball days were Monday and Wednesday, and starting in May it will be Monday through Friday, and that’s free,” Guthrie said.

Residents looking forward to getting out and doing something other than lacing up skates will have some of their favorites activities return as soon as April.

“Our climbing wall and our scooter and roller blade rental will be opening April 13,” Guthrie said. “That’s something exciting for everyone in the neighborhood.”

For a list of activities, times and costs, visit the park’s website, maggiedaleypark.com.

Riverwalk to re-emerge with new look

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, staff writer

As the weather turns warm and the streets of the city begin to go from brown to green, the Riverwalk, too, is reemerging after months of extensive renovations.

In mid-December, the city closed the thin, serpentine ribbon of land hugging Wacker Dr., from about Michigan Avenue, and excavators scraped the landscape bare. But finally, later this month, the Riverwalk will re-open, fresh and newly developed, though landscaping will continue through the end of Spring, according to a city spokesperson.

The 1.2-mile development project is focused on some of the oldest parts of the Riverwalk, according to a news release and the spokesperson said the renovation is intended to accommodate more visitors and businesses.

The Riverwalk is a hotspot for dining, drinking and boating recreation as well as bicyclists, joggers and walkers. Urban Kayaks, Island Party Hut, The Northman, and Chicago’s First Lady operate businesses along this portion of the Riverwalk though more will be coming.

“Vendors in the Esplanade section are also making improvements to their locations,” said the spokesperson. “A portion of the Civic District will be getting a new community marketplace. Eight new Riverwalk vendors will be in operation beginning in June.”

There is not an exact date for the re-opening, the spokesperson said it would likely be at the end of April.

“A new path is being installed along with new lighting, seating, landscaping and a railing along the dockwall,” the spokesperson explained. “A new Community Marketplace is also being constructed between Wabash and Michigan Avenues. Portions of the ramp have been removed to create the market which will feature local minority- and women-owned businesses. An elevator is also being installed in this area.”

In addition to commercial improvements, the city will invest heavily in native plants.

“More than 100 new trees are included in the landscaping, which will provide a diverse variety of species,” the spokesperson said. “The new seating areas will be available to the public and guests of the businesses in that area to enjoy a picnic or beverage.”

The project is expected to cost $10 million, according to a city news release issued last year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project will boost the city’s economy.

“The riverfront investments we are making will make the entire 1.25-mile stretch inviting to residents and visitors, increase recreational opportunities and continue to promote economic growth,” he said.

The work is being done by Fleet and Facility Management, the city department that oversees the Riverwalk.

(Snag the before/after images from P. 14/15). Caption: The Riverwalk project will bring more venders to the popular walking area and it will also add more greenery and more space for pedestrians. Photo and artist’s rendering courtesy the City of Chicago

While the Riverwalk was still nowhere near finished in late March, the city expects to have the area finished in late April. Photo by Jesse Wright

Door decoration ban sparks confusion


(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

Leanne Fox is a mother of two, Ryan, 4 and Ethan, 3 and like most young children, they like to draw and paint.

Fox, a resident in North Harbor Tower, 175 North Harbor Drive, doesn’t know why anyone would object to her sons’ artwork but in March, she said someone did—her building’s management.

Fox said she had been hanging the artwork on the outside of her apartment door as a way to show off her kids’ artistic ability and the most recent piece had been on display since Mother’s Day of last year when she got an email from her building management.

Fox said most of the email concerned maintenance issues at her apartment and was routine. Until the end.

“And by the way,” Fox said, paraphrasing the email, “The apartment across from you is now vacant and my bosses up there were showing it or looking at it and they noticed you had pictures on your front door and you need to take it down.”

Fox has no idea why. She said she’s not seen any written policy on door decoration and other apartment doors are decorated.

“We hung up a wreath for Christmas,” said Adam Birch, a resident in North Harbor Tower.

His brother, Noah Birch, who lives at the Shoreham, said so far as he is aware, the Shoreham does not have a problem with door decorations.

More to the point, after Fox protested the notice on Facebook, two other residents who live in the building responded that they or someone they know posted children’s artwork without any consequence.

Waterton manages the property, but an executive with the property management company declined to offer any statement or provide clarity on any policies. If Waterton does ban all decorations, they may be an outlier in the neighborhood as several nearby residential units allow decorations.

So, Fox is left confused and her door is left without decoration.

“It’s not religious, it’s not political,” she said. “It’s not offensive. It’s just squiggly lines.”

And Ethan, Fox said, is left hurt.

“He asked, ‘what happened to picture? Mommy no like it anymore?’” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

While Fox has seen no written rule on the incident, she did say an employee at the building warned her the residence could look bad if everyone decorated their door.

“When I repeated again, why him? Why the target? I was told, ‘Well, imagine if every person was allowed to put art or decor on their door, it’d look like a college dorm,’” Fox wrote in an email. “OK. If that is the thought then why allow some and not others? Why target a 3 year old’s picture? Other families have artwork up on their doors as well. So what’s going on?”

The best tips for storing winter clothes

(Published March 31)

By Jesse Wright, staff writer

Winter gear isn’t cheap, and now that it’s time to put it away, it’s important to store it right.

Pamela Sherman, owner of Chicago Organized Home, a home organizing service shared some tips from her years organizing homes.

“We recommend heavy coats stay hanging,” she said. “Either in a guest closet (that is mostly empty) or in the back of the main hall closet (if there’s room) and if there is no room in any of the main closets, we recommend a hanging rack that is covered in a basement or storage area.”

The same goes for shoes. “We love to store winter shoes in clear shoe bins, high in the master closet or kids’ closet,” she said. Scarves and gloves, meanwhile, should be in a labeled bin in another out-of-the way closet.

Most people will probably want to wash their winter gear and Sherman said unless a label says otherwise, most winter gear doesn’t require professional cleaning.

“We recommend all season gear be stored clean, so if you can do it at home, great; if not then yes it should be professionally cleaned,” she said. “For fur coats, we recommend storing at the place of purchase during the summer months. They will clean and fix anything that was weathered in the season and make room for more seasonal minded items in your closets.”

Bedding, too, often changes with the season and Sherman said storing bulky bedding material in any out-of-the-way place is best.

“If space is super tight you can use vacuum sealed storage bags to condense the size of the duvet and blankets,” she said.

For folks who really can’t find the space, Chicago Organized Home offers custom closet organizing system.

“Most standard ‘builder’s closets’ consist simply of a single rod with a shelf on top,” she said. “We love designing closet systems that optimize spaces so it can hold more and be easy to access items. We design with a host of closet systems so that we can help our clients find the right solution for them based on their tastes and budget.” That service is free.

Find out more at chicagoorganizedhome.com.

Illinois couples now option for collaborative divorce

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

On Jan. 24, the Jenner & Block firm hosted a celebration of the passage of the Collaborative Process Act in Illinois a year prior. Collaborative law professionals met to honor their work in the advancement of collaborative law in Illinois and Chicago.

Divorce may not be easy, but in Illinois, the process can be less burdensome when couples use collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is different from litigation and mediation. Through the process, a team of professionals trained in collaborative law, including attorneys and divorce coaches, come to an agreement outside of court. A judge ultimately signs off on the agreement, but the focus is not the amount each party can get.

“It is an interest-based process and focuses on the goals of each individual,” collaborative attorney and mediator Rita Ghose said. The goal is not necessarily what the parties are entitled to legally, but is about what is most important to each side.

“Each party signs an agreement that is binding to commit themselves to the collaborative process and not bring it to court,” Ghose said. If one of the parties decides to break the agreement and litigate, new attorneys must be hired. The entire process is private and not a part of public record.

“We have been working on collaborative law in Illinois for about seven or eight years,” attorney Carlton Marcyon said. The process has been law for just over a year and advocates say it’s working out well.  

“Collaborative law is beneficial to litigants, it’s faster, less costly, and there’s less consternation between parties,” Marcyon said.

The collaborative law process can often lead to better communication between spouses and can be better for any co-parenting endeavors, according to Marcyon.

“The collaborative process is the most supportive way to go through a divorce,” divorce advisor Karen Covy said. “Everyone is on the same page to serve your goals, not the attorney’s goals.”

To learn more about collaborative law, visit collablawil.org

Published on March 15, 2019

Sweetwater Tavern and Grill reopens after repairs

(Published March 14)

By Jesse Wright

After being closed for months for repairs, Sweetwater Tavern and Grill reopened its doors on March 8.

The popular New Eastside bar and grill, at 225 N. Michigan Ave., was packed by 5 p.m. that day and longtime fans said they were happy to have their favorite spot back.

“I had come here about a dozen times before it reopened,” customer Ken Goncharoff said.

In the two months since the restaurant closed, construction crews added stainless steel accents, more seating options, including more bar seats, and an updated ceiling.

But Goncharoff said he didn’t notice most of it because his favorite parts of the bar are unchanged.

“To be honest, it looks the same,” he said. “The bar looks different and the ceiling looks different, but I love the atmosphere here. That’s why I come here, and that hasn’t changed. I liked it before and I like it now.”

Sweetwater is gearing up for a massive St. Patrick’s Day patio party March 16.

The bar and grill will open at 9 a.m. and will offer green beer, bagpipes and Irish food, including corned beef Reuben, shepherd’s pie and corned beef poutine.

For more information, visit sweetwatertavernandgrille.com.

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